The Broad College of Business is on a mission to develop global transformational leaders who positively impact organizations and society. To help advance the careers of women and support workplace diversity, the Broad College offers two complementary online programs, Women in Executive Leadership and Women in Senior Executive Leadership, through Executive Development Programs.
“Recruiting a diverse workforce provides an organization with unique viewpoints and problem-solving ability,” David Frayer, assistant dean for outreach and engagement, said. “We’re pleased to be able to offer programs like these to help women excel in today’s workplace.”
Now entering a third year, both programs are offered in English virtually each fall, bringing together women leaders across industries and continents to provide them with opportunities to excel. The programs help participants perform at a higher level in their careers and provide the tools to support other leaders within their organizations. Live translation captioning is available for Spanish-speakers.
Women in Executive Leadership is designed for individuals with five to ten years of experience, and Women in Senior Executive Leadership benefits women with ten or more years of experience. Both programs include the latest research from Michigan State University faculty in the fields of leadership, emotional intelligence, communication, negotiation and inclusion.
Jennifer Dunn, fixed-term faculty of the Broad College’s Department of Management, has enjoyed facilitating sessions on negotiations through the programs. She said, “The participants are eager to learn from faculty and from their professional peers. They take full advantage of the interactive nature of the program.”
World-class organizations such as Clark Construction Company, Dow, Eastman Chemical Company, Greenstone Farm Credit Services, Kellogg Company, Meritor WABCO, Pilot Chemical Company, Whirlpool Corporation and the State of Michigan have sent participants to Broad’s programs. Many have sent multiple women across both programs to maximize change in their organizations though mentorship, the creation of support networks and increased capacity of attendees.
“We believe in giving people the tools they need to advance,” Lyn Hewitt, vice president of human resources at Clark, said. “Construction is a male-dominated industry. We have made some good progress in cultural change, and we still have a long way to go. Programs like these offered at MSU help women navigate this male-dominated culture successfully. Since adding these types of programs to our team curriculum, our employee retention and performance is stronger.”
Clark Construction has since sent 10 other women to the series and has seen positive outcomes in turn. “The program has inspired several individuals and has provided the skills to help them reach their personal and professional goals,” Hewitt continued. “When people learn things and come back and challenge the status quo, that’s how we learn and grow as a company.”
Some of the topics covered in the program are universal, such as the need for meaningful work. Other issues are explored from the unique perspective of women, such as work-life balance and perception by peers.
“It is important for women to have a springboard to share struggles and ambitions. That’s what these two programs provide,” Marcie Stowell, assistant director of open enrollment programs, said. “The experiences are as varied as the individuals in our programs.”
While many informal networks — such as those on platforms like LinkedIn or created through women-led virtual happy hours — exist and are helpful, the EDP women’s programming provides a more formal structure for change. Participants have opportunities to hone their skills and build their network during the program.
Senior executives from industry share their best advice for creating value during optional presentations that immediately follow a few of the modules. All of the content presented is designed to have real-world application that women can use to lift their organizations.
“At Clark, we are pleased to partner with MSU and utilize the Women in Executive Leadership program to advance our female leadership team members,” Hewitt continued. “I would highly recommend the program for those who wish to expand their knowledge and network and also hone some of their unique skills for career success.”